Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains
Many books have been written about bushwalking in the Blue Mountains. There is certainly a wealth of choice, from gentle meanders along clifftops with jaw-dropping views and lookouts over 200-metre drops, through to multi-day challenges with gruelling descents and ascents through eucalypt forests and gorges with waterfalls and rainforest. In Blue Mountains National Park alone there are more than 140 kilometres of marked tracks. The advisory signs at the start of bushwalks suggesting how long a walk will take are generally very conservative, so if you are fit or experienced you will usually take considerably less time.
Near Blackheath, the Clifftop Walk at Evans Lookout and Grand Canyon are superb, and the challenging day walk to the delightful Blue Gum Forest from Perry’s Lookdown offers a series of stunning views that can certainly be described as ‘breathtaking’ as you puff and pant on the way up.
Near Katoomba the Prince Henry Cliff Walk is gentle, stunning and deservedly popular. The more energetic should consider tackling the Giant Stairway and Federal Pass. The day walk to Ruined Castle – the jumble of rocks and spires near Mount Solitary – either from Narrow Neck or from Katoomba, is particularly recommended.
For those keen to carry a pack and experience a night or two in the mountains, head for Mount Solitary or take one of the many routes to camp at Acacia Flat near Blue Gum Forest. Longer, multi-day classics include the Six Foot Track (that is its width!) from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, and the three- or four-day hike from Katoomba to Kanangra Walls in which you climb several peaks and descend 1000 metres in a single day.
Many adventure operators run guided walks to some of the best places, with revelations about the plants, animals and history along the way. Tread Lightly Eco Tours has advanced eco-certification and is well known for being one of the most environmentally dedicated operators in the mountains. Its office is solar-powered, carbon neutral and all activities focus on minimum impact and excellent interpretation of the natural environment. There are guided walks of two to eight hours tailored to ability, and night walks focusing on astronomy, glow worms, and nocturnal animals such as bats, gliders, antechinuses and wallaroos.
River Deep, Mountain High has everything from half-day guided walks to multi-day treks. Its three-day guided walk on the Six Foot Track is supported, so you only have to carry a day pack.
River Deep, Mountain High: (02) 4782 6109
- Blue Mountains National Park, Blue Mountains, National park